BY BENJAMIN J. GOHS, EDITOR
Boyne City officials hope refining its goals list from 18 issues to three categories will improve chances of accomplishing those tasks.
The Boyne City Commission voted unanimously at its regular Tuesday Aug. 23 meeting to adopt a new plan that focuses on three main categories: Parks and Recreation, Affordable Housing, and Economic Development.
“It doesn’t take anything off the table,” said Boyne City Manager Michael Cain. “It just helps us organize it better.”
Boyne City Executive Assistant and Harbormaster Barb Brooks presented commissioners with the new revised plan at last week’s meeting.
“We’ve been at this since January, now,” she said. “Since then, we’ve had a series of public input sessions, online surveys, work sessions amongst the various boards and commissions… We’ve taken input in from work sessions from the chamber of commerce, from Main Street, so, all this input together has brought us to the recommendation you have before you.”
Brooks added, “[W]hat it came down to in taking all of the input from the community and the various work sessions: the city’s got a lot on their plate.”
Brooks said the common theme seemed to be that, to get things done, the city needs to focus on a few goals at a time.
The three main goals which were identified were parks and recreation, affordable housing and economic development.
“It’s on you now to decide if these are the goals you want to stick with, if there’s something that you think we missed and want to add,” said Brooks.
The 2016-2017 refined city-wide goals fell under three main categories which each included specific steps to take in order to reach those goals.
The housing goal will be met by conducting a needs assessment, holding a community housing forum and facilitating/supporting opportunities.
The economic development goal will be reached by recruitment and retention, attracting new businesses and by ensuring necessary infrastructure is in place.
The parks and recreation goal will be accomplished by coordination of community, programs and staff, and by improving and expanding parks opportunities such as the Veterans Park pavilion project, buying the open space parcel and improving the city marina.
“I think this is probably the most comprehensive opportunity with regards to our goals,” said Cain. “Obviously, we do this every two years—after each city commission election—that’s been our pattern for quite some time.”
He added, “We certainly don’t lack from a wealth of opportunities. The question is: ‘Where is the focus going to be?’”
Boyne City Planning Director Scott McPherson told commissioners he was in full support of the proposed city goal plan.
“(As) opposed to the previous goals, I think this is a much better approach in identifying those big ideas as opposed to the specific targeted projects as you did before,” he said. “So, this gives the ability to look at the bigger picture and identify what projects meet those goals.”
Cain said the proposed plan is supposed to work as a framework for the city but it in no way is meant to hinder the projects of other local non-profit groups or economic development organizations.
Boyne City Commissioner and Mayor Pro-Tem Delbert “Gene” Towne agreed that the outlined goals were the most important to the city.
Boyne City Commissioner Laura Sansom said she feels the new goals list will help clarify how the city should move forward. She also said she wants the housing category to reflect the need for diverse housing opportunities.
Boyne City Commissioner Hugh Conklin asked how the plan will be lead. He asked why trails weren’t mentioned on the plan but, ultimately, he felt the new plan is a good overview.
Cain said the trails project at Avalanche Preserve is happening on city property but is not being built by the city.
Boyne City Commissioner Ron Grunch said he would like to see the goals printed on a poster and displayed on an easel in city hall so citizens can see that the goals are a work in progress.
“I’m impressed with this, being able to condense all these 26 pages into one flowchart,” Grunch said.
Boyne City Mayor Tom Neidhamer said he would like the parks category clarified to say “improve and expand current parks.”